Obama: Recovery path hard, but challenges ‘can be met’

President Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

President Barack Obama addresses the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., on Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- His re-election in doubt, President Barack Obama conceded only halting progress Thursday night toward fixing the nation's stubborn economic woes, but vowed in a Democratic National Convention finale, "Our problems can be solved, our challenges can be met."

"The path we offer may be harder, but it leads to a better place," Obama declared in advance excerpts of a prime-time speech to delegates and the nation.

The president's speech was the final act of a pair of highly scripted national political conventions in as many weeks, and the opening salvo of a two-month drive toward Election Day that pits Obama against Republican rival Mitt Romney. The contest is close for the White House in a dreary season of economic struggle for millions.

In the run-up to Obama's speech, delegates erupted in tumultuous cheers when former Arizona Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, grievously wounded in a 2011 assassination attempt, walked onstage to lead the Pledge of Allegiance. The cheers grew louder when she blew kisses to the crowd.

And louder still when huge video screens inside the hall showed the face of Osama bin Laden, the terrorist mastermind killed in a daring raid on his Pakistani hideout by U.S. special operations forces -- on a mission approved by the current commander in chief.

With unemployment at 8.3 percent, Obama said the task of recovering from the economic disaster of 2008 is exceeded in American history only by the challenge Franklin Delano Roosevelt faced when he took office in the Great Depression in 1933.

"It will require common effort, shared responsibility and the kind of bold persistent experimentation" that FDR employed, Obama said.

In an appeal to independent voters who might be considering a vote for Romney, he added that those who carry on Roosevelt's legacy "should remember that not every problem can be remedied with another government program or dictate from Washington."

The hall was filled to capacity long before Obama stepped to the podium, and officials shut off the entrances because of a fear of overcrowding for a speech that the campaign had originally slated for the 74,000-seat football stadium nearby. Aides said weather concerns prompted the move to the convention arena, capacity 15,000 or so.

Obama's campaign said the president would ask the country to rally around a "real achievable plan that will create jobs, expand opportunity and ensure an economy built to last."

He added, "The truth is it will take more than a few years for us to solve challenges that have built up over a decade."

The evening also included a nomination acceptance speech from Vice President Joe Biden, whose appeal to blue collar voters rivals or even exceeds Obama's own. Delegates approved his nomination to a new term by acclamation as he and his family watched from VIP seats above the convention floor.

Biden told the convention in his own speech that he had watched as Obama "made one gutsy decision after another" to stop an economic free-fall after they took office in 2009.

Now, he said, "we're on a mission to move this nation forward -- from doubt and downturn to promise and prosperity. ... America has turned the corner."

With Obama in the hall listening, Biden jabbed at the president's challenger, as well.

"I found it fascinating last week -- when Governor Romney said that as President he'd take a jobs tour. Well with all his support for outsourcing -- it's going to have to be a foreign trip."

First lady Michelle Obama, popular with the public, was ready to introduce her husband, two nights after she delivered her own speech in the convention's opening session.

Delegates who packed into their convention hall were serenaded by singer James Taylor and rocked by R&B blues artist Mary J. Blige as they awaited Obama's speech.

There was no end to the jabs aimed at Romney and the Republicans.

"Ask Osama bin Laden if he's better off than four years ago," said Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who lost the 2004 election in a close contest with President George W. Bush. It was a mocking answer to the Republicans' repeated question of whether Americans are better off than when Obama took office.

The campaign focus was shifting quickly -- to politically sensitive monthly unemployment figures due out Friday morning and the first presidential debate on Oct. 3 in Denver. Wall Street hit a four-year high a few hours before Obama's speech after the European Central Bank laid out a concrete plan to support the region's struggling countries.

The economy is by far the dominant issue in the campaign, and the differences between Obama and his challenger could hardly be more pronounced.

Romney wants to extend all tax cuts that are due to expire on Dec. 31 with an additional 20 percent reduction in rates across the board, arguing that job growth would result. He also favors deep cuts in domestic programs ranging from education to parks, repeal of the health care legislation that Obama pushed through Congress and landmark changes in Medicare, the program that provides health care to seniors.

Obama wants to renew the tax cuts except on incomes higher than $250,000, saying that millionaires should contribute to an overall attack on federal deficits. He also criticizes the spending cuts Romney advocates, saying they would fall unfairly on the poor, lower-income college students and others. He argues that Republicans would "end Medicare as we know it" and saddle seniors with ever-rising costs.

After two weeks of back-to-back conventions, the impact on the race remained to be determined.

You're not going to see big bounces in this election," said David Plouffe, a senior White House adviser. "For the next 61 days, it's going to remain tight as a tick."

Romney wrapped up several days of debate rehearsals with close aides in Vermont and is expected to resume full-time campaigning in the next day or two.

In a brief stop to talk with veterans on Thursday, he defended his decision to omit mention of the war in Afghanistan when he delivered his acceptance speech last week at the Republican National Convention. He noted he had spoken to the American Legion only one day before.

Romney's campaign released its first new television ad since the convention season began.It shows Clinton sharply questioning Obama's credibility on the Iraq War in 2008, saying "Give me a break, this whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen." Obama was running against Hillary Rodham Clinton at the time for the Democratic nomination.

It will likely be a week or more before the two campaigns can fully digest post-convention polls and adjust their strategies for the fall.

Based on the volume of campaign appearances to date and the hundreds of millions of dollars spent already on television advertising, the election appears likely to be decided in a small number of battleground states. The list includes New Hampshire, Virginia, Ohio, Colorado, Nevada and Iowa, as well as Florida and North Carolina, the states where first Republicans and then Democrats held their conventions. Those states hold 100 electoral votes among them, out of 270 needed to win the White House.

Money has become an ever-present concern for the Democrats, an irony given the overwhelming advantage Obama held over John McCain in the 2008 campaign.

This time, Romney is outpacing him, and independent groups seeking the Republican's election are pouring tens of millions of dollars into television advertising, far exceeding what Obama's supporters can afford.

Associated Press writers Leo Buckle, Ben Feller, Ken Thomas, Matt Michaels and Jim Kuhnhenn in Charlotte, Calvin Woodward, Jennifer Agiesta, Jack Gillum and Josh Lederman in Washington, Kasie Hunt in Vermont and Thomas Beaumont and Steve Peoples in Iowa contributed to this report.


gwinnettresident1 3 years ago

More change.....The last change just left a little change in my pocket...I can barely wait to see the new change. Who is he going to blame for the condition America is in now..You do know the Regan never blamed Jimmy Carter for the condition he received the county in.


BurritoJones 3 years ago

Jimmy Carter didn't leave Ronald Reagan a $5.1trillion deficit in new policies.

When the previous guy left the room on fire when he left, you're allowed to complain.


John_Smith 3 years ago

‘Look, if I can’t turn the economy around in three years, I will be looking at a one-term proposition.’


JV 3 years ago

An August 2012 study by the liberal National Employment Law Project (NELP) finds that 58 percent of all jobs recovered in the last two years have been in low-wage occupations, which grew 2.7 times faster than mid-wage and higher-wage jobs. Other key findings included:

  • Lower-wage occupations were 21 percent of recession losses, but 58 percent of recovery growth.

  • Mid-wage occupations were 60 percent of recession losses, but only 22 percent of recovery growth.

  • Higher-wage occupations were 19 percent of recession job losses, and 20 percent of recovery growth.

  • Three low-wage industries have added 1.7 million jobs in the recovery and constitute 43 percent of total net growth: food services, retail, and administrative, support and waste management services (largely employment services, i.e., temp jobs).

The study examined employment trends in 366 occupations using the government's wage and job survey, known as the Current Population Survey (CPS). "In short," concludes the report, "America's good jobs deficit continues."


notblind 3 years ago

Obama has no plan, has no expertise to even come up with an outline of a plan and has surrounded himself with people that also have no real world expertise. Even if an idea formed in one of their brains, Obama rarely meets with the top people in his government [ not to be confused with his campaign people ] so any idea would be lost before it could be studied. This guy's election was an experiment that has blown up in the faces of the independents that voted for him. Hopefully they don't mess up again.


BurritoJones 3 years ago

Well that was a useless post. You do know that just saying something doesn't actually make that statement true, right?

Have you even read either party's platform? Have you reviewed their voting records? Have you gotten any information on the candidates from any source other than Fox News?

I'm certainly not one to assert that anyone with a brain should automatically agree with Obama. I often don't agree with him. But when your entire point is something as hollow and blatantly false as "Obama has no plan" you become part of the problem. You're just making the conversation more divisive. And that radical approach to every topic is exactly why the RNC has been hemorrhaging moderates.

Keep shaking that angry, uninformed fist. You're just making yourself more and more irrelevant.


notblind 3 years ago

You are the one pumping the party line. It goes like this "Ignore the poor job reports this month as one month doesn't really set a trend". They have been saying this for many many months. Party line - "taxing the rich will fix the deficit problem". You could take every cent the rich make and not make a dent in the deficit. Party line- "It's Bush's fault". Reality - Bush is long gone. Party line- "Green energy jobs will get us going in the right direction". Reality - Green energy subsidies are just another way to transfer money to the politically well connected. Can you say Solyndra?

So BJ, tell us what Obama has done to deserve reelection ????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????


StinknBadges 3 years ago

Hey Burrito. Here is a link to the transcript of the president’s convention speech (NPR link not Fox). Perhaps you can enlighten us “irrelevant” folks as to just what plan for the future the president spoke of. I think I did see something in there about climate change. What else? Remember a plan and a vision is not the same thing.



notblind 3 years ago

His ideology says vote for the [D]. Just don't ask him why.


kevin 3 years ago

Give me a break! What nutcase would give him another 4 years except to destroy this country even more. He has always been a man of no substance. We need real change. ABO. (anybody but Obama). Obama, go back to your high school where you would do quite well stirring up folks for a football game with your loud talk and lies.


kevin 3 years ago

I'd like to give Obama some more time. Yes, 30 yrs in a Federal prison!


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